iHeartMedia Launches New FM Sports Talker in Milwaukee. The sports talk radio battle in Brew Town is getting serious as iHeartMedia flips CHR WRNW to sports talk as “97.3 The Game, Sports Talk That Rocks,” effective immediately. iHM already owns WOKY “The Big 920” that carries primarily FOX Sports Radio content. Across town is Entercom’s WSSP-AM/W289CB “105.7 FM The Fan” airing local sports talk during the day and syndicated fare at night. And, of course, there’s Good Karma Brands’ new FM sports talker WKTI “ESPN Milwaukee 94.5” that’s airing the same mix of local and ESPN Radio programming as sister suburban AM WAUK, Waukesha. Good Karma also owns news/talk WTMJ (thanks to its recent $16 million acquisition of the two stations from Scripps Media) which has the play-by-play broadcast rights to Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Milwaukee Bucks games. Getting back to “97.3 The Game,” the station will air a blend of local and syndicated content including: former Brewers beat writer and Milwaukee radio host Drew Olson, Milwaukee Bucks radio voice Ted Davis, WISN-TV sports director Dan Needles, FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Dario Melendez, Spectrum Sports’ Bob Brainerd, longtime market morning personality Kevin Brandt, a.k.a. KB, and Wisconsin Badgers sports voice Mike Heller. “The Game” program director Tim Scott says, “Sports talk in Milwaukee is about to change. Milwaukee is more than just a great sports town and ‘97.3 The Game’ will reflect that.”
Salem Launches Multimedia Ad Agency. In order to effectively sell its broad range of media options, Salem Media Group announces it has developed Salem Surround, “a nationwide multimedia ad agency with locations in 35 markets across the country.” The press release says that “in addition to selling audio and digital advertising on its 116 radio stations and websites, Salem Surround offers a comprehensive suite of digital marketing services to develop and execute audience-based marketing strategies for clients on both the local and national levels.” Salem Media Group CEO Edward Atsinger adds, “From our beginning as just a few local radio stations to the nationwide multi-platform media company we are today, Salem has worked hard to stay in tune with our listeners, readers, clients, and partners to meet their growing needs. Salem Surround is yet another way for us to serve with excellence nationwide, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.” Company VP of digital marketing Jamie Cohen states, “With consumers spending more and more time on smart phones and tablets, the media landscape has become significantly more complicated for business owners and marketers to navigate. The one-size-fits-all marketing approach of just a decade ago has quickly become outdated. Combining the power of Salem Radio with a full-service digital advertising strategy will allow us to go above and beyond in meeting the needs of advertisers around the country.”
NBA’s Spurs Sign with Skyview Networks for Broadcast Services. The NBA’s San Antonio Spurs are working with Skyview Networks, using the latter’s radio distribution network and AdView Inventory Management software for its WOAI, San Antonio-based play-by-play broadcasts. Skyview says its “AdView system provides inventory scheduling, revenue reporting, and affidavit reconciliation in one consolidated system. This allows the organization’s front office to manage the complex nature of play-by-play contracts with ease. Now the Spurs have access to detailed inventory tracking, which in turn generates instant affidavits to speed the billing and receivables process.” Skyview VP of business development Matt Stys says, “I am thrilled to call the San Antonio Spurs a partner. We are proud of the package of services we provide, and I am confident in the value the Spurs will receive with our high-quality distribution and streamlined inventory management system.”
Programmer/Researcher Roberts Succumbs to Cancer. Programmer and research expert Dave Roberts (Kelliher) lost his long battle against cancer last Saturday (11/24). The former architect and PD of San Francisco’s KRQR “The Rocker” became vice president of programming for the RKO Radio Networks and vice president of FM programming for CBS. He and RKO news vice president Dave Cooke formed Roberts/Cooke Media Research. In addition to consulting news/talk outlets, Roberts provided research to television stations and retailers. His on-air credits included stops in San Francisco (KYA and KIOI “K-101”); Anaheim (KEZY); Riverside-San Bernardino (KMEN); Fresno (KYNO); and Honolulu (KPOI). SoundOut president/North America Rob Sisco hired Roberts at “K-101” in 1981. “Dave went on to host national radio shows and filled-in several times for Casey Kasem on ‘American Top 40,’” Sisco points out. “Jo [Interrante] and I hired him when we had IS Inc to host RKO Radio Networks artist profiles we produced, ‘Music Star Special,’ and ‘The Hot Ones.’ Dave narrated more than 250 shows for RKO. He was an amazing talent, a brilliant programmer and researcher, a delightfully nice man, and a dear friend to all who knew him. Rest in peace my dear friend – you are missed.” Of Roberts, veteran programmer (WGN, Chicago; WBAP, Dallas; WCCO, Minneapolis; NRG Media) Bob Shomper comments, “The absolute best research guy around – and an even better person.” RKO Radio Networks’ former director of affiliate relations Julie Spira states, “My heart aches seeing this news. I loved working with Dave at RKO Radio Networks. May he rest in peace.” John Evans notes, “We’ve lost another brilliant broadcaster. I was lucky to have worked with Dave at KYA from 1979 until [Rob] Sisco grabbed him for ‘K-101.’ We were doing great radio in those storied days and Dave was one of the best. His shows for RKO and IS Inc were top notch.” Owing to the fact Roberts held a Ph.D. in communications research from the University of Oregon, he was often called “Dr. Dave.” Surviving Roberts, who turned 70 earlier this month, is his wife – Walsh College (Troy, Michigan) president Marsha Kelliher. A private funeral for Roberts will be held later this week, followed by a memorial.
Talking Trump. Pictured above are former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski (right) and Citizens United president (and former Trump deputy campaign manager) David Bossie (left) at the ABC News Radio studios where they talked to affiliate stations about their new book, Trump’s Enemies: How the Deep State Is Undermining the Presidency (2018, Center Street). (Photo: ABC News)
Trump-Russia Investigation/Manafort Allegedly Violates Plea Deal, GM Announces Job Cuts, Climate Change Report, U.K. Facebook Documents, Undecided Congressional Races, Russia-Ukraine Aggression, Mars Landing, the Brexit Deal, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/26). The anticipated release of Robert Mueller’s report on the investigation into potential connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related allegation from Mueller that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort lied to investigators after making his plea deal; General Motors announces job cuts and plant closings in the U.S.; the U.S. government’s ominous climate change report and President Trump’s response; the U.K.’s possession of Facebook documents relative to the Cambridge Analytica data use scandal; the status of the remaining 2018 election results; global response to Russia’s military aggression in the Ukraine; NASA’s successful Mars InSight landing mission; the U.K.’s latest Brexit deal with the EU nations and its implications for U.S.-U.K. trade; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Pittsburgh Entercom-owned radio stations WBZZ-FM, “100.7 STAR” and country WDSY “Y108” are presenting “A Concert for Unity” to benefit the rebuilding of Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, the site of the deadly assault on worshippers there on October 27. The event, live from Pittsburgh’s Byham Theater on Sunday, December 2, will feature Dan + Shay, FRZY, and The Andy Davis Band and will be broadcast live on both stations. All proceeds from the show are going to rebuild Tree of Life. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Pittsburgh suffered an unfathomable tragedy and our community has come together to support our neighbors in their time of need. Through the generosity of local Pittsburgh artists and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, ‘A Concert for Unity’ will directly support the rebuilding of Tree of Life.”…..Morning show personality Frank Lario exits Beasley Media Group’s country WXTU, Philadelphia where he was working alongside Andie Summers, who is holding down the show solo while a search is on for a partner…..Programming pro Robyn Simone is named PD at Cumulus Media’s urban AC WLXC, Columbia, South Carolina “KISS 103.1,” effective December 10. During her career, Simone has served for 10 years with Radio One in markets including Detroit and Cleveland…..Sales pro Kimberly Parker is named general sales manager at Cumulus Media’s country WIVK, Knoxville. She most recently served as VP of advertising with the Las Vegas Media Group. She comments, “It’s great to be back in Knoxville. This is my home. I know the wonderful history and significance of WIVK in East Tennessee and I am honored and thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this talented and well-established staff.”…..Big Broadcasting’s KOKO-FM, Fresno flips from oldies to classic hip hop and R&B as “Jammin’ 94.3” entering into a deal with Envision Networks for programming and ad sales. Station program director Mike Marino says, “Our unique blend of old school and R&B throwbacks super serves an adult female audience ignored by other contemporary and gold-based radio stations in the market. Passion levels for this music are off the charts. Fresno will get the ‘feels’ from Jammin.’”…..Tragic news strikes iHeartMedia’s hip hop WWWZ, Charleston, South Carolina “Z93 Jamz” as authorities in Beaufort County report finding the body of 28-year-old Nathaniel Scott Jr., known on the radio as DJ Tough Love, in a wooded area where he’d been shot to death. Authorities are still investigating the matter.